Cauliflower cheese & spinach pasta bakes

Cauliflower cheese & spinach pasta bakes

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(30 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 45 mins

Skill level

Easy

Servings

Serves 6

Somewhere between macaroni and cauliflower cheese, these pasta bakes are perfect for a cold day

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian
Nutrition info

Nutrition

kcalories
591
protein
28g
carbs
60g
fat
29g
saturates
13g
fibre
8g
sugar
18g
salt
1.91g

Ingredients

  • 850ml milk
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g butter, plus 1 tbsp
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g extra mature cheddar, grated
  • 25-50g blue cheese
  • ½ tsp finely grated nutmeg
  • 250g penne
  • 1kg cauliflower (2 medium ones), cut into florets
  • 750g frozen spinach (whole leaf), defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 25g toasted pine nuts

For the tomato sauce

  • 4 garlic cloves, 3 sliced, 1 left whole
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 700g jar tomato passata

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Method

  1. For the tomato sauce, cook the sliced garlic in the oil for 1 min, then add the passata. Season, half-cover the pan and simmer for 20 mins until rich.
  2. Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Put the milk, flour and 50g butter into a pan. Heat, whisking non-stop, until smooth, then bubble for 3 mins, stirring to make sure any flouriness is lost. Cool for 5 mins, then stir in the mustard, most of the cheddar, half the blue cheese and half the nutmeg.
  3. Boil the penne and cauliflower for 8 mins in salted water until the pasta is almost cooked and the cauli is tender. Keep 2 tbsp water from the pan, then drain. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a pan, add the whole garlic clove, spinach, remaining nutmeg, salt and lots of black pepper. Stir for 2 mins, then remove the garlic clove.
  4. Set aside 300ml cheese sauce and mix the rest into the cauli and pasta. Divide half the tomato sauce between 6 dishes and top with some spinach. Fill with cauli mix, top with more spinach, then the rest of the tomato sauce. Top with the cheese sauce, cheeses and pine nuts. Cover with cling film, cool and chill for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. To cook, defrost if frozen. Heat oven to 200C/ 180C fan/gas 6. Cook on a baking sheet for 18-20 mins until golden and bubbling. Good with green salad or garlic bread.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, January 2010

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Comments

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catherinebusymum's picture

Yummy!! Everyone loved it and with two children who normally say "yuck" to everything new, this was a break-through :-)

rosehadley's picture

Will not be making this again. Highly disappointing. Too many pans needed, and it was messy and fiddly. It tasted ok, but won't go through the hassle again. (far too much as well!!!!)

Strawberrysquash0's picture

This was a really tasty and filling meal. I used one dish rather than dividing the meal. I also cooked the pasta and cauliflower separately (we like steamed veg) and used fresh spinach. Even though I cut the ingredients down, as only cooking for two, there was still loads left over which I have frozen. Great recipe :-)

perky2512's picture

I have made this twice now and we all love it. The children ate the spinach as well. The only thing I did differently was I made it in one big dish. There is never anything left in the dish or on the plates.

perky2512's picture

Made this as one big dish and it was so yummy. The kids loved it and ate it all up. Was even better than I expected.

nicolajp's picture

This was really yummy and definitely indulgent comfort food. Involved rather a lot of components though and I ended up using nearly every pan in my cupboard somehow, so not really an every night of week kind of thing, but definitely worth it. I too cheated and used passata with garlic already in it, and I think in future, I would just mix everything up and put it in the dishes, rather than layering. It doesn't say what to do with the 2 tbsp of reserved water, but I used it to wilt the spinach.

olisho's picture

It looked absolutely yummy. Took it out of the oven, put it on the counter top next to the salad I'd just made, positioned my wine glass next to the bake to take a pic of it all, and crash...my heavy wooden board that was standing at the back of the counter top came down on the lot!!! We ate it anyway (having checked for glass) but can't remember what it tasted like as I was too upset. Just as well I've got one in the freezer..will let you know!

susaneardley's picture

This was lovely & went down a storm with the whole family! I cheated a but, using passatta with garlic & herbs already in. I also didn't have time for the layering & separating so just mixed it all together in one big baking dish & bunged it in the oven.

Kitchen helper's picture

I've made this recipe for dinner this evening. It was delicious, loved the vegetables and garlic and the cheese sauce was perfect. The only downsides to this recipe are that there are a lot of steps therefore it required more time than I initially first thought. Also, this dish requires many saucepans, which although I have, some others may find it difficult if they only have a 3 piece set.

vickybrunton6869's picture
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I made this the other night in a large dish and it was beautiful!!!! I used a little extra blue cheese and I did cheat and use a loyd grossman sauce just to save time. Highly recommend :)

cat1974's picture

Would like to try. Recipe says Keep 2 tbsp water from the pan, then drain. But it doesnt say what to do with the water that you´ve kept?

harrymondeo's picture
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Top recipe....have used it regularly since appeared in the magazine, tend to use frozen spinach as it is one of our regular winter seasonal dishes. My fella always likes meat in ANYTHING so I add some chopped bacon to give him his fix. Easily freezable, so make batches and save time later, well worth the effort that way. EXCELLENT

harrymondeo's picture
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Top recipe....have used it regularly since appeared in the magazine, tend to use frozen spinach as it is one of our regular winter seasonal dishes. My fella always likes meat in ANYTHING so I add some chopped bacon to give him his fix. Easily freezable, so make batches and save time later, well worth the effort that way. EXCELLENT

mummymandymoo's picture
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No doubt about it, this is yummy. However, it is a real faff to make and uses almost every pan in the kitchen! Will make again but use a shop bought tomato sauce. Would also use fresh spinach and just wilt it down with the butter and garlic rather than defrost frozen spinach, squeeze it out etc etc.

susieone's picture
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I halved the recipe, but otherwise followed it without alteration. I served it with garlic bread. It made a pleasant change for an after work supper and enabled me to use up a few odd things left in the fridge, but I won't repeat it. There was nothing wrong with the recipe; it just wasn't very inspiring.

tdawas's picture
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Only way we can get cauliflower and spinach into our children's stomachs!

dimple sonejimakani's picture
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Wonderful recipe...lovely autumnal meal!

levislevis's picture
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filling, however might be better with broccoli

thespecialk's picture
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Made this when my Veggie sister was over for a visit, went down very well with everyone, meat eaters included! Even lasted us for dinner the next day!!

I left out the blue cheese because I'm pregnant but it was still lovely. I also added sugar to my tomato sauce as tomato sauce tends to be quite bitter without it.

The only downside is that you will use many pots and pans & it does take quite a while to make, but it still deserves the 5 stars!

Superraisen's picture
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omg, lush and tasty! even my uber-picky brother had a whopping 2x seconds despite the presence of cauliflower and leek (own addition - also added ham and a less harsh cheese instead of the blue one to make it childproof). Definitely some fiddling involved but I think it's worth it.

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